Superproblems Program Showcase
Students build a host of STEM skills through the playfulness of designing real-life adventure games - more commonly known as escape rooms in Puzzling Play.
Designing education focused escape rooms teach students to be problem creators and problem solvers.
An escape room is a real-life adventure game that puts a team of people against the clock to solve puzzles and experience the story in order to escape a locked room. They have exploded in popularity over the past ten years as a team-building activity or social outing. Many escape rooms blend numeracy, literacy, lateral thinking and technology to create their puzzles and are owner-operated by entrepreneurs. This creates a rich context for students to engage and flex their STEM muscles.
Students plan and produce their escape room to the theme of ‘Waste and Sustainability’ and in the process emphasise creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and technological skills development through hands-on puzzle making.
In the act of designing an Escape Room, students are challenged to think deeply about what it means to make a good puzzle, to cater to an audience, and to work together to make a cohesive project. Students are asked, ‘How might an escape room educate and influence puzzle solvers to rethink their wasteful behaviour?’ The opportunity to partake in an escape room as an escapee, the students become the experts in their own experience. This becomes the core knowledge that the students empathise with when they are considering what makes a great escape room. Trial and error, opportunities to create mini-puzzles and seek feedback from each other allows them to hone their skills as puzzle designers.
Students-led puzzle design means that they can make use of any number of technologies.
Students in this program are introduced to the range of technologies that Monash Tech School has available including 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, Electronics, and Virtual Reality. As students decide on their puzzles, they are encouraged to challenge themselves to build their skills in any technology they are interested in. While all our technologies are available to them, and they are also able to use any technology that they have within their school, or at home. Our facilitators provide students with support for self-directed learning and troubleshooting so they can learn the skills for future success and be life-long learners.
Funded by the Arconic Foundation, made in partnership with EscapeXperience and inspired by the work of Monash Art Design & Architecture students.
Arconic Foundation has generously provided funding to support the development and delivery of Puzzling Play in late 2019 and 2020 with the intention of creating greater accessibility to enriching STEM experiences for students across the world. This has given us the unique ability to engage with EscapeXperience in South Oakleigh where our students have been able to get first-hand experience in a high-quality escape room. EscapeXperience has not only given the students the opportunity to get hands-on within escape rooms, but their directors provide an industry Q&A session which helps students understand their experience as entrepreneurs.